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The nuclear background influences the penetrance of the near-homoplasmic m.1630 A?>?G MELAS variant in a symptomatic proband and asymptomatic mother.

ABSTRACT: In this study, we report the metabolic consequences of the m.1630 A?>?G variant in fibroblasts from the symptomatic proband affected with the mitochondrial encephalomyopathy lactic acidosis and stroke-like episode Syndrome and her asymptomatic mother. By long-range PCR followed by massively parallel sequencing of the mitochondrial genome, we accurately measured heteroplasmy in fibroblasts from the proband (89.6%) and her mother (94.8%). Using complementary experimental approaches, we show a functional correlation between manifestation of clinical symptoms and bioenergetic potential. Our mitochondrial morphometric analysis reveals a link between defects of mitochondrial cristae ultrastructure and symptomatic status. Despite near-homoplasmic level of the m.1630A?>?G variant, the mother's fibroblasts have a normal OXPHOS metabolism, which stands in contrast to the severely impaired OXPHOS response of the proband's fibroblasts. The proband's fibroblasts also exhibit glycolysis at near constitutive levels resulting in a stunted compensatory glycolytic response to offset the severe OXPHOS defect. Whole exome sequencing reveals the presence of a heterozygous nonsense VARS2 variant (p.R334X) exclusively in the proband, which removes two thirds of the VARS2 protein containing key domains interacting with the mt-tRNAval and may play a role in modulating the penetrance of the m.1630A?>?G variant despite similar near homoplasmic levels. Our transmission electron microscopy study also shows unexpected ultrastructural changes of chromatin suggestive of differential epigenomic regulation between the proband and her mother that may explain the differential OXPHOS response between the proband and her mother. Future study will decipher by which molecular mechanisms the nuclear background influences the penetrance of the m.1630 A?>?G variant causing MELAS.

SUBMITTER: Uittenbogaard M 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6773428 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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